The Value of LinkedIn Groups for Group Members

May 16th, 2008 | by Jason Alba |

I posted Group Pontification back in March, when I stated I was going to do an experiment. My JibberJobber – Career Management Group on LinkedIn now has 476 members, with very little marketing. I’m not suggesting that you can have a group with hundreds of members with “very little marketing,” but I really haven’t pushed the Group.

I’ll write a third post to wrap the Groups idea up, focusing on the value of LinkedIn Groups for the group owner… for now let’s talk about the value of Groups for people who become members.

The value of Groups is quite elusive, so if you don’t “get it,” you aren’t alone. Let me list the things I have been able to determine:

  1. Expanded search capability. In the Advanced Search section of LinkedIn, you can choose to limit or include other Group members in a search. I haven’t played around with this but they way they write it, it seems you can’t include your network AND Group members, rather either or.
  2. Expanded findability factory. Turn #1 around, and the idea that “those people” who are searching for “you,” in various capacities (employee, employer, vendor, customer, partner, etc.) will have a better chance of finding you if you are both members of the same Group.
  3. Ability to browse through other Group members. Supposedly these are people who we will have something in common with … although I would guess that’s true less than 50% of the time.
  4. Ability to inMail other Group members. This may be one of the most valuable reasons to be in a Group. I tried to inMail someone at a second degree from me and got the “upgrade now” screen… and then I tried to inMail someone who was a second or third degree but a member of a Group I’m in, and was able to do it. Wow, this is a huge compelling reason to join as many Groups as you can, if you have a proactive LinkedIn strategy!

So what am I missing? Some of these might seem trivial (like #3), but really, being a member of a group increases your ability to find and be found, and communicate with other Group members. Not too shabby.

I’ve seen LinkedIn Groups get slammed because it doesn’t have richer communication functionality, like that you’d find in a Facebook Group… but within the LinkedIn world, I think three of these four benefits are quite compelling.

And it’s why you’ll find people who are in a TON of Groups.

Some gems on LinkedIn Groups throughout the blogosphere:

  1. Expand Your Network with LinkedIn Groups – by Scott Allen himself, check out the comments which are rich with info
  2. [MyJobTIGER] Top Advantages Of Joining Groups On – I think this is a splog :( but it’s a post that Vincent Wright wrote which is very good
  3. Get Linkedin To Groups! - Rocky VanBrimmer from Central Ohio Network
  4. LinkedIn Review #3: How to Use Groups – Bill Branstetter’s recruiter perspective on how to use Groups on his Recruiter Resources Review blog
  5. Using LinkedIn Groups - Mike Mueller on Lenderama (which is not a llama)

and here’s an official LinkedIn blog post about Groups:

What’s new in LinkedIn Groups? Learn more (Sept 21, 2007, by Ben Guthrie)

What am I missing? Next post in this series is the value of LinkedIn Groups for the Group owner.

Looking for more info on LinkedIn?  Check out my book!

  1. 6 Responses to “The Value of LinkedIn Groups for Group Members”

  2. By Edward J. Branley on May 16, 2008 | Reply

    If you want to contact a 2nd or 3rd tier person, why not just ask the 1st tier that knows them for an intro?

  3. By Thomas E. Kenny on May 16, 2008 | Reply

    #3 may seem trivial but it all depends upon strategy. One reason I joined the Jibber Jobber group on LinkedIn was for the opportunity to find others local to me that are also using Jibber Jobber.

    Having been busy with other things I had forgotten that objective (thanks for the reminder!). Thus I just performed a group search and found 39 people within 50 miles of me that are in the Jibber Jobber group.

    Shared interest and assistance between networkers is key to building relationships so groups can really help strengthen your network if you have a serious interest in the group and properly leverage the potential of the new connections and shared interest.

    Of course if you’re just looking to add a badge to your profile and build up numbers, well then that’s not networking.

  4. By Walter Feigenson on May 16, 2008 | Reply

    There’s another benefit to these groups: recruiters (and sourcers) are often group junkies because they can communicate with prospects without using InMail. And conversely, from the jobseeker perspective, browsing group members is a good way to find recruiters you can contact without InMail. A reasonable number of groups in your profile makes you look like a more sophisticated LinkedIn user. Too many groups may suggest you’re either a recruiter or you’re spending too much time on LinkedIn!

  5. By Thomas E. Kenny on May 19, 2008 | Reply

    Although I don’t necessarily recommend it. If somebody had a reason to be in many groups but thought it would gave the wrong impression they could change their settings to just make some of those groups not visible.

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